I am reading two books this month.
Bought them long back.
One of them is ‘Tools of Titans’, by best selling author Tim Ferriss. In a chapter, he wrote about the questions that changed his life.
One of the questions that stuck with me is:
What would this look like if it were easy?
These days, more than any other question, I’m asking “What would this look like if it were easy?” If I feel stressed, stretched thin, or overwhelmed, it’s usually because I’m overcomplicating something or failing to take the simple/easy path because I feel I should be trying “harder” (old habits die hard).From ‘Tools of Titans’
While reading it, I realized that many of my personal triumphs, came this way. I used this approach to get lean, to meditate and write regularly and most recently to read.
I lost around 28 kgs (60 pounds) at one point over a couple of years by making it easy.
I did not start a big workout program or some special diet. At first, I just removed the tea from my diet. I figured I was having too much of it. With milk, sugar, and snacks that went with it, it made up for a lot of calories.
To make sure that I won’t miss tea, which I was mighty fond of, I replaced tea with plain milk. After I became comfortable with this change, I replaced milk with water. And, only after several months added regular walking to the mix.
I did the same with meditation.
People find meditation tough because they find it boring. They also think that it will take too much of their time.
After meditating through my teens and continuing with it on and off over the years, on Jan 9th, 2014, I decided to be regular with it.
I did not make any big plans.
I just figured that most of us do not stick to meditation because we can’t find time for it after we get into the hustle bustle of the day. I had my own unique challenge because my inspiration for meditation were sages who meditated in caves. I wanted to meditate like them after taking a bath. My yoga guru once sat with me and asked me to burn incense before meditating.
I tried doing it at home but never could be consistent with it. Until I found a way to eliminate all that keeps us from meditating.
I figured there are 2-3 challenges that all wannabe meditators face – thinking that it will take too much time, not finding that time, and thinking about pre-meditation prep (in my case).
I got rid of the ‘taking too much time’ issue by starting with 5 minutes a day. I could have gone down to 2-3 minutes a day if I could not do 5 minutes. Who don’t have 3 minutes in a day?
To tackle the ‘not finding time’ challenge, I decided to meditate in bed as soon as I woke up. And, I eliminated the prep.
I no longer took a bath before meditating. I did not need to move to another room to do it. I just got up and eased myself on top on the pillow that I kept on my bedside for meditation based on a technique I learned many years back. That pillow was enough to get my spine erect and worked as my anchor.
That’s it. This simple process has allowed me to stick to my practice for more than 5 years now.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I have been writing regularly this year. This is because I have made it easy for myself. To be able to do this, I gave myself permission to not follow any rigid rules.
I don’t follow a daily word count. There are days when I publish a 100-word post. There are other days when I post a 1000-word or 3000-word long form post. There are no set themes. I share what I observe, points of views (my own and of others) and my learnings. All with the hope that my posts will serve as a reminder to myself and that you can use some of what I share. And, I accept that I’ll always not be able to publish top quality work.
Recently I started reading the books again. Instead of thinking of finishing a book a week or worrying about taking notes and writing book reviews I just settled on 10 pages a day of a book. To make it even easier I did not limit myself to one book. I allow myself to switch between books. So far this has been working.
Do you want to use this same approach in your life?
I am sure that you have a unique life and realities but here are some ideas that you can use to make things easy.
How To Make What You Do Easy?
Start With ‘The Question’
Ask yourself: “What would this look like if it were easy?”
Then answer you get will be based on what you are trying to do but it will give your clarity.
Start Small and Do It Long Enough to Form a Habit
I started my meditation practice with 5 minutes a day in the morning and made it easy as I shared above. Thanks to this, I completed a 1200 days streak. Since 2014, it is rare for me to skip a day without meditating. I don’t even have to try because now it’s a habit.
Habit formation is a big topic but the basics are – starting small, doing it regularly without breaking the chain, clubbing a new habit with an existing habit, and also clubbing a boring act with something that makes you happy or excited.
When you form a habit, you do it on autopilot, with the least effort. So it makes sense to form a habit around what matters to you.
Don’t Go for Big Changes Quickly
Don’t say no to big changes but don’t expect them to happen in a short time.
Be constant and consistent with your effort because something you do for a short time every day wins over long hours of sporadic action.
One Time, One Thing! One Day, One Focus!
Don’t over pack your days. Have themed days. I get a good return on the time I invest when I keep aside an entire day to write. In multitasking, you spend a lot of mental energy in getting in and out of tasks. If you want to keep things simple, do one thing at a time.
There you have it.
Now, ask yourself ‘what if it were easy’ and make your days and life smooth.